High Violet

High Violet

5.0 4
by The National
     
 

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The National have worn a lot of hats since their 2001 debut, but they've never been able to shake the rural, book-smart, quiet violence of the Midwest. The Brooklyn-groomed, Ohio-bred indie rock quintet's fifth full-length album navigates that lonely dirt road where swagger meets desperation like a seasoned tour guide, and while it may take a few songs to get going,… See more details below

Overview

The National have worn a lot of hats since their 2001 debut, but they've never been able to shake the rural, book-smart, quiet violence of the Midwest. The Brooklyn-groomed, Ohio-bred indie rock quintet's fifth full-length album navigates that lonely dirt road where swagger meets desperation like a seasoned tour guide, and while it may take a few songs to get going, there are treasures to be found for patient passengers. High Violet begins to take shape on "Afraid of Everyone," a slow-build, midtempo rocker that expertly utilizes the Clogs' (guitarist Bryce Dessner's other chamber pop band) prickly orchestrations, but it's the punishing "Bloodbuzz Ohio" that serves as the record's centerpiece. Built on a foundation that fuses together TV on the Radio's "Halfway Home" and Arcade Fire's "No Cars Go," its refrain of "I still owe money to the money, to the money I owe" seems both relevant and nostalgic, resulting in a highway anthem that feels like the anti-"Born to Run." Other standout cuts like "Conversation 16," "England," and the darkly funny/oddly beautiful closer, "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," trumpet Violet's second-half supremacy, but even they tremble beneath the "Bloodbuzz" intoxication.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
The National have worn a lot of hats since their 2001 debut, but they've never been able to shake the rural, book-smart, quiet violence of the Midwest. The Brooklyn-groomed, Ohio-bred indie rock quintet's fifth full-length album navigates that lonely dirt road where swagger meets desperation like a seasoned tour guide, and while it may take a few songs to get going, there are treasures to be found for patient passengers. The National's profile rose considerably after 2007's critically acclaimed The Boxer, and they have used that capital to craft a flawed gem of a record that highlights their strengths and weaknesses with copious amounts of red ink. High Violet oozes atmosphere, but moves at a snail's pace. The Cousteau-esque "Terrible Love" hardly bursts out of the gate, and the subsequent "Sorrow" and "Anyone's Ghost" (despite Bryan Devendorf's locomotive drumming) lack the hooks to reel anybody in on first listen. The album begins to take shape on "Afraid of Everyone," a slow-build midtempo rocker that expertly utilizes the Clogs' (guitarist Bryce Dessner's other chamber pop band) prickly orchestrations, but it's the punishing "Bloodbuzz Ohio" that serves as High Violet's centerpiece. Built on a foundation that fuses together TV on the Radio's "Halfway Home" and Arcade Fire's "No Cars Go," its refrain of "I still owe money to the money, to the money I owe" seems both relevant and nostalgic, resulting in a highway anthem that feels like the anti-"Born to Run." Other standout cuts like "Conversation 16," "England," and the darkly funny/oddly beautiful closer, "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," trumpet Violet's second-half supremacy, but even they tremble beneath the "Bloodbuzz" intoxication. Muscular, miserable, mighty, and meandering, High Violet aims for the seats, but only hits about half of them.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/11/2010
Label:
4ad / Ada
UPC:
0652637300321
catalogNumber:
73003
Rank:
9880

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

National   Primary Artist
Thomas Kozumplik   Percussion
Tim Albright   Trombone
Thomas Bartlett   Piano,Keyboards
Sufjan Stevens   Harmonium,Vocals
Michael Atkinson   French Horn
Padma Newsome   Violin,Viola
Bryce Dessner   Group Member
Rachael Elliott   Bassoon
Aaron Dessner   Group Member
Bryan Devendorf   Group Member
Scott Devendorf   Group Member
Alex Hamlin   Baritone Saxophone
Maria Jeffers   Cello
Bridget Kibbey   Harp
Richard Reed Parry   Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Double Bass
Nico Muhly   Celeste
Dave Nelson   Trombone
Rob Moose   Violin
Justin Vernon   Vocals
Alex Sopp   Flute,Bass Flute
Marla Hansen   Vocals
Nadia Sirota   Viola
Hideaki Aomori   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet
Kyle Resnick   Trumpet
Benjamin Lanz   Trombone
Mads Christian Brauer   electronics
Laurel Sprengelmeyer   Vocals
Jeremy Thal   French Horn
Greg Chudzik   Double Bass
CJ Camereri   Trumpet
Matt Bernunger   Group Member

Technical Credits

National   Producer
Greg Calbi   Mastering
Patrick Dillett   Engineer
Mark Fox   Cover Art
Peter Katis   Engineer,Additional Production
Sufjan Stevens   Vocal Arrangements
Peter Mavrogeorgis   Engineer
Padma Newsome   Composer,Orchestration
Bryce Dessner   Composer,Engineer,Orchestration,Additional Production
Matt Berninger   Composer,Lyricist
Aaron Dessner   Composer,Engineer,Additional Production
Christian Biegai   Engineer
Richard Reed Parry   Vocal Arrangements
Nico Muhly   Orchestration
Carin Besser   Composer,Lyricist
Brandon Reid   Engineer

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